How I feel about birth control after unplanned pregnancy

Birth control, something we are all taught to think about but yet no one actually seems to talk about it? What is it that is so taboo about birth control anyway…I’m sure most women are pretty open about if they want a baby right now or not?

Personally, I have never liked the idea of messing with my body’s natural cycle with hormones. So the likes of the pill or the implant etc have never been for me. Right from when I started having sex I’ve always just used condoms + tracked my cycle. I use an app called ‘clue’ which I very highly recommend! It looks like this;

Which worked well for a few years…and then I fell pregnant. As I’m sure you may have guessed, the ‘morning after’ pill was not something for me either.

So now I sit here with my baby, who I hadn’t planned on having but who is the greatest gift I have ever received.

After you have a baby, you’re very fertile – and midwives very heavily impress on you to ‘sort’ your birth control out. When my midwife mentioned it and I said I didn’t want any hormonal birth control she seemed quite shocked. But obviously as a professional she can’t change or question my choices.

Despite having an unplanned pregnancy, I still firmly stand in my choices not to use hormonal or invasive birth control. Which I think is a decision I have made for a few reasons.

One likely being that the physical effects of pregnancy and birth on your body are so intense, that I want to give my body a break. After all the hormones that had ran through my body to grow my baby, I needed to leave my system alone to level back out.

Another reason being that now I have experienced the joy of motherhood and that I know there is never a ‘right’ time to have a baby, if it happened again I know I’d cope. Just to be clear, I definitely don’t WANT another baby while I’m doing my degree etc and I will be taking precautions to not get pregnant, but no matter how many precautions you take their is always a chance – that’s just life.

So unplanned pregnancy hasn’t changed my opinions or choices surrounding birth control, if anything it’s made me feel more confident in my decisions – which I suppose is a very strange thing to say. But hey ho it makes sense in my mind.

I’ve had a few women reach out to me in the past saying they have received hate for not wanting to use birth control. So I suppose that was one of the reasons I wanted to write this. Your choices are your choices ONLY, and no one should EVER pass comment or judgement on that.

Georgia X

365 days

Well, what a year it’s been. The idea that what was once causing lots of heartache and fear, has now created a wealth of happiness still blows my mind.

Sunday 27th of May 2018. 5:30am. Those two pink lines instantly appeared and we worked out that I was just over 4 weeks pregnant. From that day our lives were turned upside down. Arlo Tobias Woolf, creating a whirlwind since May 2018. 

I sat all of my A-level exams knowing my baby was there, but not knowing if I would ever get to meet them. But through all the uncertainty and throwing up, I still achieved my grades. Which – after moving schools, changing exam boards, self teaching one of the subjects AND THEN finding out about Arlo 2 weeks before all my hard work was going to pay off – I think is pretty bloody impressive.

At around 11 weeks pregnant, me and Kieran took a trip to Amsterdam. We spent a few days walking around canals, sleeping on a boat house and looking at (almost) naked ladies in windows. All with Arlo tagging along for the ride. It’s pretty surreal to think that he was there, becoming.

And when we got home, we decided to meet our baby. There it was, we were having a baby! Bet no one was expecting that when we announced it…

On the 7th of September 2018, we found out it was a boy! We were both so very happy about this, being one of two girls I really wanted to be a mum to a little boy. (As well as buying all the tractor and dinosaur prints….pink + frills aren’t really my thing)

I did powerlifting-style training until I was 36/37 weeks pregnant. Even managed to pull 100KG when I was 4 weeks pregnant…I didn’t know at that point though! I am still so happy I kept up my training throughout pregnancy, despite people telling me I shouldn’t. All my hard work definitely payed off during labour and recovery. Not to mention the fact that I made an 8Ib4Oz baby!

23:58pm on the 27th of January 2019, you were here. 24 hours of labour and hard work and I finally had him in my arms.

The next couple weeks we spent encased in a little bubble. Anything else going on in the world didn’t seem to matter. It was all feeds, nappy changes and getting to know our boy.

The number one question I get asked all the time is ‘wow, how did you find that name?’. In all honesty I’m not 100% sure how Arlo came about, we wanted something different but not too ‘out there’. Tobias is from the Divergent trilogy that I read a few years ago.

We have both kept up our training since returning to the gym at 5 weeks postpartum, and I am getting stronger by the day. Getting closer and closer to my pre-pregnancy weights and even considering competing again soon. We both walk the 2 miles to the gym with Arlo in tow, one trains while the other looks after Arlo and then we switch. If that’s not dedication I don’t know what is.

At 9 weeks old we took Arlo on a day trip to London…which was brilliantly hilarious, but I won’t get into the details of that (there is a separate blog post all about it)

The last 4 months have been filled with so much adventure and learning. Loving and growing. Becoming and healing. Arlo is the calmest, most content little baby I have ever met. He doesn’t fuss about anything, sleeps well, feeds well and is becoming ever more interested in the world around him.

Seeing him grow and learn is incredible, getting to be the person who nourishes that development is second to non. I have loved every second of being a mother and am beyond excited for all the trials and tribulations to come.

365 days since we found out. 365 days of overwhelming amounts of fear and love all at once. The 365 days in which I became the best version of myself yet.

Georgia X

When does postpartum end?

This question has been playing on my mind a lot lately. Does it end when we have our 6 week check? When baby has been out longer than they were in? Or does it never end?

Of course, I don’t have a scientific answer to this – is there even a scientific answer? But I think it’s an important question that acts as part of a wider discussion around motherhood.

A lot of people (including healthcare professionals) talk about feeling ‘normal’ again after having a baby. What an annoyingly awkward phrase. Just think, right now, about how you would define ‘normal’. You can’t can you?

I remember sitting with my health visitor (who is a LOVELY lady – those people do an incredible job) and her saying ‘You’ll probably begin to feel normal around 9 months after having the baby’. I just sat there and thought…but I feel normal now? Right now is MY normal. For me, this kind of ‘talk’ just highlights the bounce back culture we live in. Comparing how we feel ‘now’ to how we felt ‘then’ and how we will feel ‘soon’.

As a society we need to focus more on being present, on embracing the ‘now’ and taking that as our current ‘normal’. If we are constantly comparing how we feel or look to how we used to feel/look, we are stealing the joy of the current moment without even realising it.

Postpartum essentially means ‘after baby’. So in my opinion postpartum doesn’t end, but evolves. I will always be living ‘after’ I gave birth to Arlo (unless someone invents a time machine…which would be quite exciting). I am constantly changing, healing, growing but I am always postpartum.

Along with how we ‘feel’ as mothers, comes an important discussion around how we ‘look’ as mothers. With the phrase ‘your tummy will shrink back to its normal size’ or ‘your stretch marks will fade and begin to look like normal skin soon’ being thrown around all too regularly, women are experiencing a tidal wave of emotion around what ‘normal’ really means.

Let me set this straight. You were normal two months ago, you are normal right now and you will be normal in two months time. Your postpartum tummy was normal 2 minuets after birth, it is normal right now and it will be normal in two months time. Growing your confidence is about defining your own ‘normal’ and living by it.

Postpartum isn’t a mere fleeting 6 week time period, it is a completely new chapter that is now your own individual ‘normal’.

Georgia X

Self care + parenting

As an individual, I have always been introverted. This means I need time alone to recharge and thrive in all other areas of life. In short, I very much enjoy my own company. (Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting with my friends and going on family holidays etc – I just have to have time to myself to balance it out)

Having time to myself in the Lake District when me and my Dad walked the 192 mile Coast to Coast path

This was something I was worried I would have to sacrifice when becoming a mother, as I had been told that babies need your attention 24/7 and so getting to take a 5 minuet shower would be a luxury. I have definitely had to change how and when I get time to myself, but I have been lucky enough not to have the kind of experience I just mentioned.

Me and Orla in Greece

Before giving birth, I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to let the things that make me me disappear and become just ‘Arlo’s mum’ – which I know is something lots of stay at home mothers struggle with in terms of their identity. I am a partner to Kieran, a powerlifter, a self-proclaimed science nerd, a long distance walking lover, a woman with big ambitions for her future (the list could go on, but you get the idea) AND a mother. So I still find time to train 3-4 times a week, study, go for walks along the beach etc – and to me that is invaluable.

The hour or so that I get in the gym to blast music through my headphones, get really sweaty and move some weight around allows me to have time to switch off from all the responsibilities of being a mother and just be ‘Georgia’. I truly believe that life is about making time for the things that are important to you, everyone told me I wouldn’t have time to train anymore while I was pregnant, but I knew it was something I was not going to give up. Not only does it make me happy, it gives me the headspace to be a better mother.

Mine and Kieran’s trip to Amsterdam

Another thing that me and Kieran had discussed was that we didn’t want our relationship to get lost in the mist of parenting. Just as much as we have become a family of three, we are still a couple separate from that. We have always loved going for long walks where we can talk and focus on nothing but each other, something that became even more of a habit while I was pregnant. This is something we still make time for now, just one of us is pushing a pram. Parenting is about adapting – you can still do all the things you did before, you just might have to change how you go about it.

Me and Kieran take an extremely relaxed approach to parenting – no routines, no expectations and an acceptance that things can change at any second (be it Arlo suddenly stops sleeping, or we have a sick explosion just before we leave the house). This allows us to not only have far less stress, but to find time to be individuals and live lives that are separate from each other as well as together. I would like to note here, I am extremely lucky to be part of a relationship where we will each take Arlo to let the other go and have a long bath or get an extra gym session when we need it. In my opinion, continuing to feel like individuals as well as a couple is paramount to having a happy family.

Self care looks different for everyone, and for me it is most definitely not painting my nails and doing a face mask (more like breaking my nails lifting barbells and having an O’natural face mask of sweat). But if that’s your thing then keep doing you.

Georgia X

Arlo’s 8 week update

Boy where do I start…so much has happened in the last 8 weeks. Never before has time seemingly gone so slow and so fast at the same time. Arlo has slotted into our life so seamlessly that even I find it hard to believe, we’re still training, keeping up our coffee addiction by going to all the coffee shops, going out on long walks along the beach and finding time to have time to ourselves (I do like a long bubble bath with a book every so often)

Staying in Brighton

At around 4 weeks old, we took Arlo on a trip to Brighton to stay with my Dad for the week. (Brave of us i know). The amount of stuff we had to take with us was ridiculous…filled an entire car mostly with baby related items. We took our first trip on the bus with a pram – which is more of a faf then you would think. But we had a very successful trip around the city, took walks along the beach and visited a town called lewes.

We’re growing as a family more and more everyday as Arlo shows us more of his cheeky personality. He has grown so much since he first arrived, he’s a lot more squishy and chunky now. We’re having to upgrade his wardrobe to bigger clothes so often! He can pretty much hold his head up and is getting stronger by the day! (his little legs are a force to be reckoned with)

When he first arrived all he wanted was to be cuddled against someones chest, but now that he is so much more alert he always wants to sit facing the world. He will quite happily sit up next to you while you do something else and just take in the world (very handy when I have little jobs to do on my laptop etc!)

He sleeps like a complete dream (me and Kieran are both on standby for that to change at any moment). We only get up for a feed once in the night now, and Arlo will sleep in until 7-8am in the mornings (providing he’s not woken up by Kieran getting up for uni at 5am). We have had quite a few amusing moments of one of us getting up in a sleepy haze to feed him and doing something strange – such as Kieran trying to give me a pillow instead of a baby!

Arlo and our dog Archie (who is a very big fluffy labradoodle) are best friends. Archie will always sit like a guard dog next to Arlo, and constantly wants to check on him. He has even tried to give Arlo his toy to play with him a couple of times. I can imagine they will be the cutest pair when Arlo is a little older.

Arlo began smiling at around 5 weeks, and now we get giggles and smirks all day! Most the time it’s involuntary, but occasionally it will be in response to one of us which absolutely melts my heart.

The three of us are the happiest little family and I can not wait for all the things the future will bring.

Georgia X